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Montreal Canadiens season update: Reasons to be upbeat

As we near the three-day holiday break in the NHL, the playoff picture gets more and more crowded and in a completely stacked Eastern Conference, the Montreal Canadiens have held their own better than widely expected.

Through 29 games, Montreal is just 3 points out of the second wild card. Being realistic, their chances of making the playoffs come spring look bleak, but until they are mathematically eliminated, this team is playing well.

The Canadiens are just a game under .500 and are just a few bounces away from potentially being in the wild card. So far this season, Montreal has largely made opponents earn wins over them.

They have one-goal losses in regulation or later to Toronto, Vegas twice, and Detroit. At worst, this is a very pesky team that looks to be on the ascent for future seasons, but maybe just not quite there yet.

Here is a snapshot of their 2023-24 season thus far.

Record:12-13-4 (28 points)
Point Percentage:.483 (22nd in the NHL)
Standings:6th in the Atlantic Division and 13th in the Eastern Conference

Key wins:

  • 10/28/23: 4-3 (SO) vs Winnipeg Jets
  • 11/9/23: 3-2 (OT) vs Detroit Red Wings
  • 11/11/23: 3-2 (OT) vs Boston Bruins

Key losses:

  • 11/2/23: 3-2 vs Arizona Coyotes
  • 11/14/23: 2-1 vs Calgary Flames
  • 11/16/23: 6-5 vs Vegas Golden Knights

Key Statistical Leaders

Goals

  • Sean Monahan: 9
  • Nick Suzuki: 8
  • Cole Caufield: 7
  • Alex Newhook: 7

Assists

  • Nick Suzuki: 15
  • Mike Matheson: 15
  • Cole Caufield: 13

Points

  • Nick Suzuki: 23
  • Mike Matheson: 20
  • Cole Caufield: 20

Plus-Minus

  • Jake Evans: +5
  • Johnathan Kovacevic: +4
  • Joel Armia: +3

Power Play Goals

  • Nick Suzuki: 5
  • Sean Monahan: 5
  • Mike Matheson: 3

Time On Ice

  • Mike Matheson: 25:17
  • Kaiden Guhle: 21:18
  • Nick Suzuki: 20:52

NHL Rankings by Key Statistic (out of 32)

Goals scored per game:27
Goals allowed per game:25
Goals scored 5 on 5:29
Goals allowed 5 on 5:8
Power Play Percentage:23
Penalty Kill Percentage:30
Faceoff Percentage:4
Shots on goal per game:27
Shots allowed per game:30

Read More: NHL Power Rankings

Top Performers:

The Canadiens have been carried by the players that fans would expect them to be carried by.

Captain Nick Suzuki, youngster Cole Caufield, and veteran Sean Monahan have carried the load on the offensive side of the puck.

The Canadiens are not exactly an offensive juggernaut, but they would likely be in or near the cellar of the league were it not for those guys.

This is a massive growth year for the young captain Suzuki and budding star Caufield. Being a growth year on a shallow team, these guys’ performance is about where it should be, especially since they have to pick up the slack with Kirby Dach out for the year.

On the defensive side of the puck, Mike Matheson has been very good. Matheson is tied for second on the team with 20 points in 29 games played.

He also has tied for the second most power play goals, the second most shots on goal, the most ice time per game, and the second most blocked shots.

Head coach Martin St. Louis has leaned on Matheson and Matheson is stepping up game in and game out.

Odds

To Reach the Playoffs+1600
To win Atlantic Division+12500
To win Eastern Conference+7500
To win Stanley Cup+15000

Read More: 2023/24 NHL Stanley Cup odds

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